In most geologic environments, accounting for anisotropy is necessary to perform acoustic full waveform inversion (FWI) of wide-azimuth and wide-aperture seismic data because of the potential dependence of wave speeds on the direction of the wave propagation. In the framework of multiparameter FWI, the subsurface parameterization controls the influence of the different parameter classes on the modeled seismic data as a function of the scattering angle and hence the resolution with which the parameters can be reconstructed and the potential trade-off between different parameters. We have evaluated a numerical procedure based on computation of the scattering patterns of the different parameters to assess the sensitivity of the seismic data to different parameterizations of vertical transverse isotropic media in the acoustic approximation. Among the different categories we have tested, a monoparametric FWI was found for imaging one wave speed with a broad wavenumber content, keeping the Thomsen parameters fixed, which have a small influence on the data relative to the wave speed. This raises the question of the initial information required in the background models of the Thomsen parameters to perform reliable monoparameter FWI. Alternatively, simultaneously inverting the horizontal and vertical wave speeds introduces limited trade-off effects because these wave speeds have significant influence on the data for distinct ranges of scattering angles, while the influence of the Thomsen parameter δ remains weak. With such parameterization, the short-to-intermediate wavelengths of the vertical velocity are updated from the short-to-intermediate scattering angles, while the long-to-intermediate wavelengths of the horizontal velocity are updated from the wide-to-intermediate scattering angles. We concluded that the choice of the subsurface parameterization can be driven by the acquisition geometry, which controls the scattering-angle coverage and hence the resolving power of FWI, and by the accuracy of the available initial FWI models.

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